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For The Love of Rhubarb

 

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It was about 5 years ago that I was talking to Ruthie, my friend in the neighborhood, and she was going on an on an on about Rhubarb.  How she loved it and makes kugels and pies and G-d only knows what else.  Well  I was flabbergasted to say the least.  I mean who eats rhubarb?  I always saw it in the freezer section but just passed it over like soup on a hot day.  So nowadays I am a lot more adventurous. That coupled with the fact that Ruthie doesn’t much seem the adventurous cooking type – gave me the courage to try this peculiar plant in my cooking.


 

Celebrating Israel Independence Day

 

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This year Yom HaAtzmaut is on Thursday, April 26, 2012.

So, probably you wanna know what I’m gonna make.  It’s not like Shavuos where I wait for an excuse to make cheesecake, I don’t really wait for Yom HaAtzmaut to make Israeli food.  Hummus and Tahina are staples in our house – we eat them with everything from chicken nuggets, to pizza and on salads.  Other middle eastern dips like Turkish salad and babaganoush are slathered in between butterflied potato borekas or smothered on spicy beef cigars weekly at our shabbos table and we eat falafel like it’s going out of style.


 

The Making of a Cookbook #3

 

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Editing, Editing and More Editing.

The most unglamorous and laborious part to writing a cookbook is the editing, specifically the recipe editing. There are so many styles to recipe writing, think about it like decorating, and no way is better than the other but each publishing house, or publication, or website (I am sure you are getting the point) has a style sheet. Now, much like morning sickness, which is not confined to the the AM hours, a style sheet is not really a single piece of paper but something closer in size to a small book. It details all the “house rules” for writing. And goes through the painful process of listing the mundane to obscure.


 

Seven Perfect Recipes for your Passover Meal

 

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Most cooks are stumped when it comes to menu planning for an important event. What’s the best starter? How to pair mains with sides? And yuntif is your ultimate culinary performance. The stage is set, the audience is seated at your table, the curtain rises, and the spotlight is on you.

Chill. Those folks around your table are not food critics from the New York Times; they’re just your family and friends. And you’ll be a star because we’ve done all the planning for you: every course in this elegant coordinated meal perfectly combines flavors, textures, and colors. Just serve and bow to the applause.


 

15 Minute Prep Passover Meals

 

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Enhance your Yom Tov meal without spending all day in the kitchen.

Passover is known to old-timers as a “Kitchen Yuntif,” but that doesn’t mean we must be chained to our stoves for a whole week. Slavery, my friends, is over — gone forever since the exodus! Our Festival of Freedom is no time to enslave ourselves, even if we’re scheduled to serve up 10 banquets in eight days, not to mention K for P lunches and snacks.


 

Jamie’s Greatest Passover Hits

 

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I can’t believe it.

Really I am in total denial.  Although I did tell my 2 year old — who doesn’t listen much anyway — not to run around the house with a slice of bread in his hand.


 

The Making of A Cookbook Part #1

 

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The rumors are true. I am working on my 3rd book, thank G-d.

I have done many things in my life both personally and professionally. But writing a cookbook is one of the single most difficult of them all.


 

My Most Memorable Purim

 

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My most memorable Purim is a scary scene.  Me with about 60 quarts of soup and 24 pounds of challah dough, crying like a baby at 2AM.
Let me explain.

When we moved to Monsey 5 years ago I really wanted to make a splash that first Purim.  The community had been so warm and welcoming and I really wanted to show my appreciation, by making all 60 families (or most of them) mishloach manos.  Since I didn’t grow up in a family that made mishloach manos, or much of anything in the kitchen, when I first got married I frantically attempted to pull something together, at the last minute, only after my husband reminded me Purim was tomorrow.  So I borrowed a page from my friend Anita’s book and bought every purple food I could find left on the supermarket shelf through it all in a bag and attached a card wishing everyone a “Grape Purim.”  Boy was I ever proud of myself.  No really, I was proud.


 

Gefilte Fish Recipes

 

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At most events I do, inevitably a woman comes up to me with a story.

She speaks of inheriting her grandmother’s gefilte fish recipe or some other such occurrence that leads her to following the directions of an old time version with the first instruction being:


 

Sweet Designs

 

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I feel like Amy and I are friends. Yes, we both do share a really good friend, Judy, who turned me onto Amy in the first place. But when you read her stuff and get the warm and fuzzies from her beautiful creations I think you’ll also feel like you’re friends with Amy. Amy’s first book is now available for pre order (it’s at the top of every list B&N, Amazon etc…) and I can’t wait to get my copy.

Sweet Designs, just like her Sweet Site will inspire you to no end. She’s actually a Sweets Stylist (to the stars) — is that the coolest thing ever? Now the question is how does she stay so skinny? While the book is not kosher per se, from following Amy I know there are so many recipes that are inherently kosher (Amy does keep a kosher home) and recipes that are easily adaptable so we can go ahead and recreate these in our kitchens. The book, her site, the picts will all make you smile.


 

Do You Ever Feel Stressed?

 

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Just feel like writing now. I know it’s been a while. Have actually been kinda stressed. There is a reason superwoman and her superman are imaginary characters – it’s all just not possible. I am stressed to the point that I am now (as I am typing) eating an entire box of mini cream-filled sponge cakes. It’s a Weight Watchers box but I am pretty sure their intention was not to eat the entire box at once, probably why they individually wrapped each one. SO frustrating now that I am trying to eat them all (while typing). I can stop at any time, you know (just as soon as I finish this box).

I should get the mother of the year award for the yummy din din I made last night (considering all the stress)- the Cranberry Walnut Salmon over Wilted Spinach from my second book Quick & Kosher Meals in Minutes*. Um.. the kiddies including my two year old who can’t even speak “asked” for seconds! Yay! Getting your kiddies to love salmon really should get me some kinda trophy don’t you think? I have two small pieces of salmon left in the fridge which I really should eat instead of struggling with this Fort Knox faux twinkie plastic wrap. But when I am stressed all I can think of is cream and cake. You do know that STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards?!


 

Brisket

 

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I have a little love affair with brisket. It’s been so good to me over the years. Save for one terrible, terrible (I mean tears kinda terrible) incident which to this day I can’t quite figure out exactly what went wrong (I’ll write about all the sordid details in my new book). That one bad episode aside (hey, even Seinfeld can have a bad episode or two and still be one of the greatest sitcoms to have ever graced the airwaves), brisket is most probably my best friend, my meat soul-mate, if you will. It’s so forgiving, it’s so tender (when sliced against the grain ), it’s so easy to work with (try searing it on the stove top first. No time? Then just throw it in the oven or even the slow cooker. Also try it shredded on a sandwich.) and lends itself to any and every possible preparation under the great big bright sun (sweet or savory, Asian or Argentinian inspired, with coffee or beer or wine and more).

So how did it become classic Jewish food? If I had to venture a guess (since I am too busy (read lazy) to look this up right now it’s most probably because it can be prepped ahead and lends itself perfectly to reheating (in fact is better when prepped ahead and reheated) which all coincide nicely with the prohibitions associated with cooking and rewarming foods on Shabbos and prepping in advance for a ton of company for 2 and 3-day holidays. If you are a bulk cooker and freezer, brisket is your friend too! Here go a few of my live-by-these-for-perfect-brisket rules.


 

Jewish Comfort Food – Chicken Soup

 

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My grandparents, both sets, made the best chicken soup. Same like yours, I imagine. My father’s side of the family made a deep dark richly flavored broth with spaghetti noodles. My mother’s parents a light bright broth with square luckshen (noodles) and alphabets for us kids in the later years.

Yes, it’s Jewish penicilin.


 

You’ve Been Asked to Cook Meals for a New Mom

 

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Kimpeturin. When I first heard that Yiddish word, I was totally confused. First of all, it sounds like a plural, but it actually refers to a woman (in the singular) recovering from childbirth. And it’s a term just loaded with compassionate implications: you take pains not to stress out this woman; she’s not expected to shlepp the laundry; and you cut her some slack when it comes to emotional triggers. Point being that new mommies can use a little (ok, a lot) of help from their friends, neighbors, in-laws, anybody! Doesn’t matter if the new baby is your first or if you have a house full of kids, getting it all together ain’t easy.

In our wonderful Jewish communities, aid comes in all forms – gifts of baby essentials, babysitting so the new mommy can nap, or help with din-din. I’ve also heard of a lady who comes over just to sort the laundry. What a G-dsend!


 

Hot Chocolate and Apple Cider for Winter Time

 

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It’s cold out. Well kinda cold out. Not exactly bone chilling yet here in NY but I’ve got my coat on and that little chill that comes with a whisper of winter. This all means it’s time to warm the tummy, yours and your kiddies’ with special hot drinks. There are few things that say “I love you”, “I made this special for you” and give people that warm and fuzzy feeling –  a cup of homemade hot cocoa does just that. In this case it’s triple chocolate hot cocoa so that must mean you really, really, really love the beneficiary of this treat (ehm, yourself). A hot spiced apple cider is a slightly more sophisticated way to say “you mean something to me” unless of course your special somebody (ehm, Hubby) would prefer that hot cocoa. I love you all so here from my heart to yours some special warm winter recipes to fill your mugs.